5 Things We Can Learn from History to Help us Deal with COVID 19
Given the current circumstances I feel it is valuable to communicate some useful and comforting tips on how we can all deal with the current situation. There have been many positive examples in recent history that we can all use to help us deal with COVID.
Each of us is more powerful than we know, and our conduct has a massive impact on our families and those around us.
Here are 5 lessons we can learn from the past.
1. Count your blessings
It can be easy to focus on scarcity at the moment and worry about what we might not have in the future. Right now, in this moment 99% of us have; our health, a beautiful family and children that are with us and are also healthy, we still have our jobs that support us, we have running water, food and the sun is shining. Continued gratitude to whomever and whatever you believe in is key to our state of mind and being.
2. Stay in the present
The present moment is all we have. Our point of power is always in the present moment. What we think, say and do creates our futures. As the great Winston Churchill said during the Blitz in World War 2:
“never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
3. Control what we can control
The Stoics have always been strong on accepting reality. All we can really control is our own actions and thoughts. Accepting that this is not in our control and surrendering to a higher power is critical to our sense of mental equanimity.
4. Be a giver
It is wise to ensure you have sufficient supplies for our families but to buy into the panic and stockpile food and toilet paper to the detriment of everyone else is classic “reptile brain” and selfish thinking. We all know people who are in the at-risk category, such as elderly parents or neighbours. It is not difficult to reach out and offer help and to be a giver and contribute to others and society.
5. Respond instead of React
We all have a choice as to how we respond to situations, even ones as challenging as COVID-19.
The great psychologist Viktor Frankel was a Holocaust survivor wrote the below in his famous book “Mans search for meaning”. Describing responses of various prisoners in concentration camps a situation far worse than what we are experiencing now:
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.
What is to give light must endure burning.
The last of human freedoms - the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances.
Each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.
Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.
A human being is a deciding being.
Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time.”
These words are more meaningful now than ever before and a shining example to us all.